Minimize the Window of Vulnerability
The most important reason to keep your website software up to date and maintain good website health is to guard against unauthorized access by a hacker. Today’s content management systems are complex platforms that facilitate custom functionality using plugins. Therefore, minimizing the window of vulnerability through updates is critical to the health of a website.
The platform and the plugins can be made up of thousands to tens of thousands of lines of code; each one written by different programmers. Being diligent in the use of plugins can prevent a vulnerability. Make sure to use plugins from known developers with years of experience and good community feedback because their maintenance and support is essential to good web health.
Likelihood of a Hacker Attack
Based on the last three years of Go Gonzalez maintaining WordPress websites and knowledge of websites not maintained by Go Gonzalez, the following chart shows the likelihood of website infiltration by the frequency of software updates, See Table 1. Likelihood of Hack. Please note, this chart is based on a subjective experience and does not offer any assurance.
|Size of Website||Bi-Weekly||Monthly||Quarterly||Annually|
|Small||Highly Unlikely||Highly Unlikely||Probable||More than Likely|
|Medium||Highly Unlikely||Highly Unlikely||Probable||More than Likely|
|Large||Highly Unlikely||Unlikely||Likely||More than Likely|
Table 1. Likelihood of a hack by frequency of software updates for small, large and medium size websites
Software vulnerabilities either already exist or may be introduced during an update. If a hacker scans a website and finds software at a version with known vulnerabilities, the website sits vulnerable for an attack. Updating software often minimizes the window of vulnerability and can prevent hacking.
Another conversation that is not as popular is the idea of website negligence. If a website is on a shared hosting plan, which is the case for millions of websites, and the website is hacked, websites on the same server may be vulnerable. Maintenance of a website is the responsibility of the website owner. Feel free to contact Go Gonzalez for information about a good support program that protects your website.
Running updates is very simple part of website maintenance. Unfortunately, updates do not always run smoothly. The more software installations on your platform, the more chances exist for an update to cause a problem with functionality. This will require troubleshooting by a skilled website administrator that can be more costly than having a support and maintenance program in place.
Maintaining a healthy and secure website is a race between software developers and hackers. If you do not update your platform, plugins and database, you may lose the race. The best thing to do is to use plugins with good reviews and keep software current to minimize the window of vulnerability.
Ed Concepcion is the Webmaster and Chief Technology Officer of Go Gonzalez